Tuesday, October 25, 2011

StoryWeaver--Storymind--NaNoWriMo

StoryWeaver Story Development Software
Yikes I forgot I still needed to post for Tuesday.  Sooooo much going on.  Reading for Bout of Books thon.  Prepping my NaNoWriMo Novel, Organizing and bringing up to date my to do lists and alerts.  Electronic file organizing and physical workstation organizing.  Email writing, reading and inbox organizing--oh man did I let that mess build up again. It went over 1K again. *blush*  I have really GOT to stop using my inbox as a to do list.  Stuff gets lost.

Well I'm working on it.

So OK the biggest news of the last 24 hours probably is the fact that I now have a rough draft--a very rough draft--of a synopsis for my NaNoWriMo novel and am now fairly confident I have chosen the right story.

I credit the story development software demo that I downloaded and tried out for that  Image at top is of the ap window superimposed over its website so you can also see the names of other pages on that site in its sidebars.

I have been exploring this site and reading the free writing tips essays and watching the free video lessons for nearly two years now.  Maybe more than that.  Am not placing my earliest memory of visiting the site but I know it was after I got me laptop in 2005 and before it died in 2009.

I find the story philosophy of the minds behind StoryWeaver and Dramatica (also found on storymind.com) to be very compatible with my own.  I found them articulating what I already understood better than I could myself. I'd been telling people for a long time now that I thought in story and to be more precise I thought in moving images that compose stories.  I always felt that my experience of that must be unique or rare or something because I have so much difficulty expressing myself in ways others can comprehend in regular dialog.  Conversation is very difficult for me.  And in spite of how fluent I seem with words they don't come as easy as it looks.  I struggle to translate the images I am seeing in my mind and am so seldom satisfied that I'm doing so well.

I have objective proof that my thoughts are being mistranslated by me when I get feedback in the form of statements like: stay on subject; what has that got to do with it?; that's apples and oranges; and on an on.

Most communication via words seems to require linear thinking and I find that very hard to maintain.  I can't think in a straight line.  My thoughts branch off in the manner of fractals and five seconds after I start a sentence what I'm seeing in my mind looks like a Mandelbrot Set and my tongue tangles up on its branches.

specifications and history of this gif at Wikipedea Commons


The very first time I saw images of the Mandelbrot Set I was stunned and immediately recognized the very thing I'd been trying to describe to the few who had the patience to listen: That's what it looks like inside my head when I'm trying to explain something or tell a story.

What I understand the creators of StoryWeaver and Dramatica to be saying is that the underlying structure of hour mind is a story maker and everybody 'thinks in stories'.  I'm not quoting directly here just paraphrasing my own understanding of the philosophy behind their popular products.

I've often been teased, and only half in fun, that I have to write a 1000 page novel to answer the simplest question.

So.  Umm.  I very seldom as in never offer up something from my creative writing that is raw rough draft but in order to show what StoryWeaver helped me do in 1 HOUR!  I will make this one exception.  What the heck.  Today I'm living dangerously:

Before I opened the demo the concept I had was: Lucy, a teen experiencing bullying at school and unplugged in parents at home.  I knew that there was going to be a trauma tending toward tragedy involved. I knew its title was A Trick of Light and that light was a theme and operative metaphor hence Lucy's name.  At the end of an hour after completing a sequence of 7 exercises I had this:


a Trick of Light
Lucy a teen struggles with bullying at school and in cyber space and at home with the sense of abandonment by her two clueless parents each lost in another world--her dad is lost in role playing video games and her mother in endless hours of video watching.  She herself is keeps life at bay by looking at it with the screen of a digital camer or computer as she takes pictures, films and then edits her work on the computer.
[here i was asked to drop 3 random words and then make meaning from them in the story.  My words were: light altered cheese]
Lucy Bright with her video/photo taking and editing skills learns to recognize the cheesy componants of soe modern culture media as well as the cheesiness of most people's  stance toward their own lives.  First she learns to alter her own work with her editing skills and then apply it to her life.   Those around her are then affected by her new behaviors and the ripple effect . Maybe she takes candid photos and videos of friends, family and others and amplifies the cheesy in order to show them themselves.  The logo she creates to represent her work is of a knife reflecting bright flashes of light carving a brick of cheese into something meaningful--maybe a likenes of herself?
ok you've set a scene but what happens? there are no plot points or events. nobody wants to sit and watch a bunch of people sitting and watching screens with light flickering on their faces the only thing moving
at first Lucy was compliant at home and at school.  at home she is the one who runs the household.  she fetches food and videos for her mother and picks up her dad's dirty socks and dishes.  she watches videos with her mother and plays video games with her dad.
but then her own work takes center stage and she pulls back.  she refuses to bring her mother food or play games with her Dad on weekdays.
at school her surrepticious video and picture taking catch kids and faculty in the act of doing things that showcase their hypocrysy or their cruelty, their shallowness or their snobbiness
in the act of  filming an altercation between a gang of bullies and their victimshe is discovered.  maybe this outs her as the one repsonsible for putting videos and pictures like this online.  or maybe the violent response of the bullies--they destroy her camera?--motivates her to start putting the pics and vids online and promoting them til they go viril
at home her new attitude upset her parents who suddenly start to use the parental authority card but she won't have none of that now.  she flat out accuses them of not only not being her parent but of being her children and she plays a video representing several years of their homelife that prooves her point
at school she is suspended when evidence of what she put online comes to light.  the injustice of her one of the vicims of the bullies being the one punished and not the bullies in spite of the evidence on film infuriates her and she retaliates by creating a video featuring the behavior of the faculty in response to bullying or being bullies themselves.
i.e. scenes showing two teachers casually talking in the doorway of a classroom while a viscious altercation between the bullies and a vicim takes place at the end of the hall.  it is obious by the way the two adults stop talking briefly and glance at the scene that they have seen but they do not intervene.  many more such come to mind
she emails this video to every school board member, the school superintendent and the local newspaper and tv station

Apologies for the mess.  That is warts and all.  All typos and misspellings intact.  Nor did I fix the formatting differences between the application and Blogger platform.

So that is my NaNoWriMo novel for 2011.

The one thing I learned in the process that was the biggest surprise to me and thus possibly game changing was that avoiding the analytical does not protect creativity but rather is the key to breaking writer's block.  I fight hard to keep my critic in check as I'm writing rough drafts and I had been making the mistake of confusing all anylitical thinking with the editor harpies that sit on my shoulder.  But that random word exercise that combined right brained playfulness with left brained analysis opened my eyes to the power of allowing those two to feed off each other and amplify each other.

I have one dissatisfaction with StoryWeaver and it isn't with its function but with its editing software.  It gives no options for changing fonts or font size and the default size looks like 8 to me. And when I apply the Windows magnifying function for accessibility the font does not lend itself well to magnification with its mixture of think and thin lines. With my visual impairment I can't even read what I'm writing as I write.

I'm trying to decide if this would be a deal breaker as my husband is suggesting the full version as my birthday present which is November 13.  The part of me that argues that maybe not being able to see what I'm typing as I type might be a good thing faces off with the part that feel stressed by the limitations and threatens avoidance tactics if forced to use it. Good thing?  Keeps me from constantly backspacing to fix typos.  Similarly it is a good thing the red lines identifying misspellings are  not available.

The demo has nearly full functionality: the only thing it won't do is allow me to save my work so when I have to do a restart--real soon now--I'll loose my entries unless i either print them or copy/paste them over to my WhizFolder note ap where I've written my NaNo novels since my first NaNo.  Well back then I used WhizNote and have gone through several upgrades.

BTW A Trick of Light is, so far, not connected in any way with my Fruits of the Spirit storyworld.  I won't promise that will hold to the end of November as I keep breaking that promise.  Maybe by not making the promise I can actually keep it.

0 tell me a story:

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